Walmart cut its store operating hours for the second time in a week Wednesday, in addition to making other store changes amid continued concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
Walmart stores in the U.S. will be open from 7 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. beginning Thursday. The move will “further help associates restock the shelves for customers while continuing to clean and sanitize the store,” Dacona Smith, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Walmart U.S., said in a Wednesday statement.
“Our associates have been nothing short of heroic in their commitment to serve customers, stock shelves as quickly as possible and keep their stores clean," Smith added. "When their communities needed them the most, our people have been at their best. Their efforts continue to be a tremendous source of pride for everyone at Walmart."
The store also announced that it will be offering special shopping hours for seniors amid the pandemic. From March 24 through April 28, shoppers 60 and older will be able to enter the store one hour before it opens for all customers. Walmart’s pharmacies and vision centers will also be open to older customers, who are considered among the most vulnerable to the virus, during that time.
The store announced that it will have item limits for customers purchasing paper products, milk, eggs, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, water, diapers, baby formula and baby food. Grocery stores across the country have been cleared out as Americans stock up on food and other essentials in the case of an emergency, although public health officials and grocery stores have discouraged many from doing so.
Walmart will also make changes to two of its department: its auto care centers and vision centers. The stores will temporarily close their auto care centers so that those store associates can help stock and sanitize stores across the country.
Walmart vision centers will provide essential services such as glasses repair and filling “existing orders.” At least one store associate will remain in the vision centers, while others will be assigned to “help in the rest of the store,” according to the Wednesday statement.
Saturday evening, Walmart announced that it would reduce store hours in its 24-hour locations in an effort to clean and sanitize the stores while customers stock up amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Target also announced this week that it will begin closing stores nationwide at 9 p.m. local time in order to provide its employees “additional time for cleaning and restocking each day.”